Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Microsoft Thought Police on patrol

This has nothing to do with anything (as is the case with this whole feature, I suppose), but for various reasons, I ended up on the main MSN page this morning. I've never really spent much time there, but it didn't surprise me to note the list of the "Most Popular People Searches" (nor did it surprise me that this list included Saddam Hussein, Madonna, and Sacha Baron Cohen).

On the other hand, I was somewhat interested to peruse a list MSN provided of "Suggested Searches". Why these searches are suggested is not disclosed, nor am I informed whether these searches are somehow, through some kind of Microsoft proprietary software, directed specifically at me. But it is interesting to consider the five "Suggested Searches" on the MSN list:

  1. New Life Church
  2. Self-aware elephant
  3. Travel terrorism
  4. New Zealand icebergs
  5. Head lice

So okay, I can understand the inclusion of New Life Church on the list. They've been, somewhat comically, in the news lately. And, well, "self-aware elephant" might be an unusual way to research the GOP's introspective nature during this campaign season. And who can argue with looking up "travel terrorism"? I mean, it's always good to take precautions, even if my longest journey in the last few months has been to an apple orchard outside Racine, Wisconsin. (I mean, hey, you never know what's in that plastic bag between the Honey Crisps and the Empires.) But the last two kind of puzzle me. New Zealand icebergs? It's been almost 15 years since last I went to New Zealand, and even then, my concerns about icebergs were limited to whether they'd somehow impede my attempt to buy U2 tickets. And finally, of all the potential search terms MSN could have suggested, "head lice" seems odd. Unless my computer really knows something I don't.

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